This article would be a good vehicle for a discussion: are we a reform movement, seeking to tweak the system to make it (appear to be) a little better? Or do we seek fundamental, cultural, political and economic transformation--that is, a revolutionary movement?
Unaddressed here is the larger question, unresolved--as to whether our efforts to address specific, definable problems are primary to our mission--or, while important-- are secondary to shaping a potentially revolutionary movement, and what that means.
Several points of this critique depend on which side you fall out on with this question. Concern about our image to outsiders, for instance--stands on the primacy of reform, and is itself a powerful inhibitor to the development of revolutionary consciousness--as is a premature move toward greater central organization... premature, because without resolving what sort of movement we wish to be--it privileges reform & forecloses on our revolutionary mortgage and leaves those of us who want to live there homeless.
In more complex but related ways--the complaints about the drum circles split along the same lines (concern for 'image' -- the fear, distrust and contempt of the Dionnysian, deconstructive work we need to create a new foundation--a cultural revolution--not surface politics! Do peeps who worry about this realize how much their complaints sound like massively repressed middlebrow middle age graysuited prematurely senile vice principals deploring rock n' roll in 1955!
Jacob Spirit Stick--dancing to the drum beat of a thousand different drummers!